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Trump incident now goes to court

Caricature of SteveThere was a new development today in the ongoing  He Said/She Said accusations involving physical contact earlier this month at a Donald Trump event.

Trump’s campaign manager Corey Lewandowski has been charged with battery involving former Breitbart News reporter Michelle Fields.

Newly released police video shows Lewandowski touching Fields when she tried to ask Trump a question after a March 08 news conference in Florida.

Lewandowski initially denied he touched Fields and claimed he didn’t know her.

I’ve spent my professional journalism life shooting and editing video so I have a keen eye.  The YouTube video skips, nevertheless, there are  two frames in which reporter Fields and Lewandowski clearly are in physical contact.

Yes, Lewandowski touched Fields so at best his original denial indicates a faulty memory. At worst it exposed a lie.


Simply touching a person can constitute “battery” as defined by law. A definition most lay observers would find baffling.

“At common law, an intentional unpermitted act causing harmful or offensive contact with the “person” of another.”

For a conviction of battery, the prosecution has to prove three things: the defendant did something, the defendant’s action was intended to harm or cause offense, and the action was, in fact, harmful or offensive.

Video of the incident plus eyewitness accounts  certainly support the first element—physical contact.

Whether Lewandowski intended to harm Field or was trying to protect Donald Trump from possible harm cannot be determined from the video. And it casts doubt on the second element—intentional harm or offense.

An image of bruises to  Fields’s arm  allegedly from contact with Lewandowski tends to support the third element—actual harm or offense.

Legally there is sufficient cause to charge Lewandowski but perhaps not enough evidence to support a conviction.   But the battery definition defies logic.

Am I a Victim

Was I battered the other day when the guy at the grocery store gently touched my arm when he cut in line in front of me because he had fewer items than I?  There was contact, I was offended, but was his action intentional?

It doesn’t matter. Legally I could claim I was battered.

Was I battered at  the theater when the woman behind me tapped me on the shoulder and asked if I could slide down in my seat because her daughter couldn’t see past me?  There was contact, I was offended, but was her action intentional?

It doesn’t matter. Legally I could claim I was battered.

Law vs. Logic

I don’t know how this case will end.  Examples of what constitutes battery seem ridiculous. Even worse is that persons have been found guilty even when one or more of the required elements for battery was was missing.    Logic would dictate that Lewandowski and Fields apologize to each other and  move on. Common sense should prevail.

But America is a litigious society.  I suspect this will drag on far too long.

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